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A’s Set AL Record With 20th Win

September 5, 2002

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ The Oakland Athletics set an AL record by winning their 20th straight game _ in the most improbable way _ blowing an 11-run lead before Scott Hatteberg homered in the bottom of the ninth to beat Kansas City 12-11 Wednesday night.

A streak filled with dramatic finishes grew even longer thanks to Hatteberg’s theatrics.

With the largest regular-season crowd in Coliseum history cheering the final game of a historic homestand, the A’s took an 11-0 lead after three innings.

Then, after the Royals tied it on a two-out, RBI single by Luis Alicea in the top of the ninth, the Athletics won in the bottom of the ninth for the third straight game.

Oakland broke a three-way tie for the longest winning streak in AL history with the 1906 Chicago White Sox and the 1947 New York Yankees.

The major league record of 26 consecutive victories was set by the New York Giants in 1916.

``It’s some kind of magic right now,″ Hatteberg said.

As Hatteberg leaped and jogged around the bases, the A’s unfurled a huge banner high above center field reading ``20.″

Hatteberg’s teammates mobbed him at home plate in a scene that was nearly identical to the A’s previous two victories _ and Miguel Tejada, the hero in Oakland’s last two wins, was one of the first to greet Hatteberg.

Only a handful of fans had left the Coliseum before the late innings, and almost nobody left immediately. They stood and cheered, with the fans closest to the A’s tunnel giving high-fives to the players as they raced to the locker room.

It was Oakland’s fifth game-ending homer of the season _ the third by a pinch-hitter.

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